The history of Singapore is a long and interesting struggle, eastern ideas and western ideas mixing, as well as a constant tumult of religion and ethnicity. Unlike other places in the world, this blending of peoples didn't lead to war and prejudice, but rather one of the most robust economies of the Petroleum Age. It was one of the busiest ports in the world, a hub of business and commerce, a place where ships were built, and unemployment was unheard of. There were more millionaires per capita in the island nation than anywhere else in the world. As the dark age of technology descended and the lights around the world one by one winked out as the the petroleum fired power plants one by one went offline, Singapore was among the locations hardest hit. With the discovery of arcanotechnology spread across the world in the second renaissance, it arrived quickly and strongly in the old island bastion. Soon, arcologies were rising across the island, and new industries were exploding.
The Temasek Aerodrome was opened on the east side of the island and was one of the first Surface to Orbit (STO) airports in the region, while the Raffles Arcology was built less than a kilometer away. The megabuilding offered room enough to host the entire 1869 population of the island. The arco remains standing even today as the central administration building of the island nation, and is the hub of all government activity in Seng Chiu. The Marshall Arcoplex sits on the SE side of the island, within sight of the Temasek Aerodrome and it is a major shipyard for both surface ships, space ships, and submarine craft. Half of the arcoplex is considered a seacology, as it is completely covered by the Indian ocean, and also provides a good deal of minced fish and kelp based biofoods for the nation. The Yew Hock Military base is located on the north side of the island and is both a surface naval base, as an army airbase. The facility is designed to serve as the focal point for the defence of the island, as well as being a regional data hub for the greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere military.
The western side of the island rapidly developed to host almost a dozen industrial and commercial arcologies. Financial institutions were drawn to the island as were tech and electronics companies interested in the ACPS market but not quite willing to make the jump fully into China. The largest of these economic behemoths was the Yuta-Blume Corporation. This was originally an easily overlooked company but heavy investment from mainland supporters bloated Yuta-Blume in a giant. The company was pricipally involved in biotechnologies, such as synthetic blood (created several years before in the Pacific Rim Confederation) synthetic organ growing (again elsewhere developed in Eurasian Alliance Italy) to pharmaceuticals.
The Yuta-Blume Disaster
Singapore would have gone on to become one of the most important economic hubs in the world and the most important in the ACPS if it hadn't been for the Yuta-Blume Disaster. At roughly 8:30 AM local time, the cascade reactor housed in the arcology suffered an unimaginable series of failures that resulted in a complete disruption of the reactor's cooling system. The resulting explosion caused a failure of the building's structural integrity and the entire north face of the arcology fell away in a landslide of nano-concrete and steel. A dozen other buildings were damaged, or collapsed as a result of the secondary damage. The power was disrupted, and the central SCAI (Super Computer Artificial Intelligence) Aphrodite was physically destroyed. Communications across the region were disrupted and the Singapore Stock Market remained offline for almost two weeks. Between the long silence in the virtual world, collateral damage from the destroyed and shattered buildings, and a death toll of 125,000 and twice as many wounded, it was more than the island nation could bear.
I remember when the Yuta Arco came down. There was this massive roar and steam came blowing out of all of the windows, and there was all sorts of screaming and confusion down on the street. A few seconds later the lights on the road went out and the maglev train stopped on it's track. Then we saw the side of the building still to wiggle and ripple, like it was made of jelly. It started to fall, sliding like the side of a mountain coming down. We screamed and ran like idiots. Those poor bastards on the train couldn't do a thing but watch it come right at them. The train vanished, and then the avalanche of debris hit the Negara demi-arco. The building shuddered and about a minute later it came screaming and roaring to the ground in a cloud of dust and smoke. We could only tell which buildings were standing and which had fell by their shadows, there was so much dust in the air. There were sirens for days afterwards. Everyone did what they could to help, pulling corpses and living victims from the wreckage as fast as they could. That one day destroyed us. The lights came back on, and when the dust cleared there just wasn't enough to fix everything. So many buildings were damaged, so many people were dead. The big companies left, they moved their offices to Kuala Lampur or to the Mainland. In a day, Singapore was destroyed.
The Yuta-Blume Arcology collapse was a stunning day for the entire world. Considered a long serving, tried and true design, no one imagined that it could suffer such a catastrophic failure. With the disruption to power and data systems, Singapore effectively vanished from the electronic world. Instead of business, there were erratic streams of disaster photage and images of horror and devastation. News about what had happened got out so slowly that rampant speculation had terrified the economic powers and they had decided to withdraw from the island sanctuary. When the Singapore stock market opened two weeks later, it had lost 90% of it's value and the island was thrown into sudden and unexpected poverty. The plans that had been drawn up to start repair and clean-up of the Yuta 'wasteland' were cancelled. There simply wasn't money to even start the UCVs and Scrappers.
As the island recovered from the devastation, the area around the Yuta-Blume arcology and surrounding damaged arcoplex was evacuated and impromptu walls were erected to separate the still unscathed eastern side of the island and the now decimated and contaminated western side. The remaining buildings were scavenged for major components and then, with a great sadness, abandoned. The wall was completed and a greatly dimished Singapore attempted to limp along, hoping and fighting for a recovery.
There were rough days, I tell you. We lost everything. My dad worked in the Negara arco, he died the day Yuta fell. My mother had no job, and we were evicted from out home in the Yew Residential Zone. We had nowhere to go, and I was too young to remember, but we ended up on the bad side of the wall. My mother learned the hard way how to care for us. We couldn't rely on electricity or robots to do our chores, or traveling to stores to buy things like clothing and food. She learned to mend clothing, wash people's laundry and if things were really bad she sometimes had to fall back to the oldest profession. A whole new world grew in the shadow of the wall. On one side there was the shining glass and steel and the robots and all the food and drink and bright lights you could imagine. On the other side there was a world 700 years in the past. We lived like before electricity and we farmed our own food and fished. Then there were the regular visits from the police to make sure we weren't Commies, terrorists, or criminals on the run.
At least no one had the nerve to look surprised when some of us decided to be those communist terrorist criminals the jack booted sociopaths were looking for.
Di'Milu became the official district name of the western portion of the Island, partitioned off by a 20 foot concrete wall. Most of the wall was built from scavenged facades of destroyed buildings, with doors and windows bing covered over or filled in with quick set concrete. But the wall wasn't perfect and rather than being a political or military barrier it was just something to hide the ruin of of the old district and keep the debris from oozing into the areas that were unaffected. As an increasing number of people were displaced by the disaster, more and more found themselves stuck in Di'Milu District because there was simply nowhere else to go. It soon became a dumping ground for undesirables, criminals, and a place where undesirables from other countries would fall into when their plans and ambitions failed in the big city of Singapore. Di'Milu was better known as the Lost Lands, or the Lost Ground, and the residents there were simply called scum.
15 years after the disaster, the population of Di'Milu District numbered in excess of 150,000 with a surprising number of those being children. Divorced from electronic pursuits and the ever invasive CogNet, infonets, and SimNets, the only entertainment afforded to the locals was procreation. Faced with a mounting humanitarian crisis, the island government was forced to request aid from Mainland China which responded with Chinese peacekeepers and shipments of rice and synthetic protein, primarily at the urging of the PacRim Confederation. After being neglected for years, the government and the outcasts were about to have a clash of ideals.
So it went down like this, lah. Those kayus Karthik and Ong were looking to hustle the ya ya peaceforcers to give them extra food. You know the trick, lah, my poor starving little sister and momma needs to rest because her back's broken from carry so much concrete to trade for shit to trade for a handful of hope. So me and Min, and Winston decide to bust them all up. It's classic feint, lah, Min goes in first showing as much of her papayas as grandfather's ghost would allow. Then while those pantats were busy puffing themselves up, and I mean the ya yas too, me and Winston jumped them like dumb chickens. Winston nailed Karthik and Ong ran away like a girl, lah! Then me and Min took out the peaceforcers. We got two guns, a helmet, Karthik's dog knife, and best of all, forty pounds of rice, LAH! Look at it!
Yuta-Blume was indeed a large and powerful pharmaceutical company, but it was more than a developer of pills, retro-engineering facility and patent factory. The corporation was one of the few megacorps in the ACPS with access to 6427 from the Shenzhen Zhong Guo laboratory. The exact nature of the experiments conducted at the facility are now unknown. The phyical records were destroyed with the collapse of the Yuta Arcology, and the electronic information was lost when Aphrodite's mainframe was destroyed. What telecommunicated records that survive have long since been devoured by the ACPS Intelligence Ministry. No one in the government currently knows what happened, as the accident was over a decade ago and most officials have either been replaced by elections, retirement, or no longer recall what was being done in the Singapore labs. It was later discovered that there was a significant level of contamination following the accident. While all of the rescue personel were working, they were hunting for radiation leaks from the damaged reactors, or evidence of radioactive contamination. No one looked for chemical contamination.
- Yuta-Blume was the target of espionage and corporate sabotage by the Shin Ra Zaibastu. After stealing all of Yuta-Blume's data and trade secrets they caused the reactor explosion to cover up their infiltration and damage Yuta-Blume.
- Aliens destroyed the arcology before the corporation discovered their presence in Singapore
- Yuta-Blume was working on a secret government project and it went wrong, and rather than let a new horror loose on the world the scientists chose to detonate the reactor to destroy the building and all of the information.
The Harmoniously Resonant Children
The peacekeepers held their rifles ready, there had been a general warning since midnight. One of the guard posts on the wall had been completely destroyed and the lone survivor had said that there was some kid who had shown up and turned into a robot and then tore everything apart. The video feed, sadly, supported this ludicrous claim. A lost ground teen approached, taunted the guards, and then turned an exposed steel girder into a suit of organic looking armor. Armed with a pair of blades extended from the arms, the iron clad teen ignored gunfire, sliced up three of the four guardsmen, and then started a fire inside the post after stealing their guns and all of their food rations.
A number of teens across Di'Milu start exhibiting unexpected abilities. These abilities superficially resemble known para-psychic and para-kinetic devotions explored in the Eurasian Alliance, Japan, and in some gray operations in China. The most common ability evinced by the children is that of molecular conversion. The process is not understood, and experienced government parapsychics cannot replicate even their most basic abilities of conversion. It is known that the ability is an unexplained expression of telekinesis. Each of the teens with the ability can convert almost any material into whatever shape they desire. There are definate preferences in forms and materials for each individual, such as favoring concrete, or metal, and forming armor or weapons.